Friday, March 12, 2010

Why Farmers Often Doubt Their Sanity

Picture this: Yours truly on an open-sided skidsteer, pushing up feed after milking. It’s dark, it’s raining, it’s a typical Thursday night. It’s also March and I’m out in my shirtsleeves pushing up feed in the wind and rain. Why? It would have been too easy to grab a sweatshirt on my way out of the parlor. And as I round the corner and take a blast of cold rain down my back, I realize that I’m so glad I’m here, right now, doing what I’m doing. Why? Not a freaking clue.

Farmers are a crazy lot. You give us a million dollars and we don’t go on a cruise, we don’t spend lavishly on a nice dinner out, what do we do? That’s right, sink it right back into the farm. Even we sit back and scratch our heads over our sanity once in awhile. But it’s involuntary. Like breathing. I think most farmers don’t really know what to do or feel comfortable doing anything else. Sure we do, often out of necessity, but working with livestock or cropping or agriculture in any capacity is almost a dark inner compulsion. You can’t not do it. Not doing it makes you feel restless and ill-at-ease, an itch you can’t scratch. Maybe that’s why when some old farmers can’t get out to the barn anymore they pass away pretty fast. It’s a connection you can’t get from anything else and the lack of it makes you diminish somehow, fade away.

Meanwhile, back on the skidsteer, cold March rain in my face, I’d like to be warm. I’d like a shower after work to be an option, not a necessity. I’d prefer the cows not kicking, shitting, pissing, bleeding, pussing, or puking (it happens) on me. But you know what? I can say “yeah I run a skidsteer in a t-shirt in the rain in March. What’s it to ya?” I can say I’ve done it.

I’m farming.

I wouldn’t be this damn uncomfortable if I wasn’t.